Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes

You wouldn't believe these red velvet cupcakes are vegan! This decadent dairy free recipe combines soya milk and cider vinegar for a rich, chocolate sponge.

Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town
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Introduction

From the earliest days of the Ms. Cupcake market stall I have had requests for red velvet cupcakes, but I always refused to make them. For those not in the know, a red velvet is more or less just a plain cake dyed to red, and I just couldn’t understand what people saw in them. Eventually, I buckled under the pressure, baked my first batch and do you know what? They were pretty great. It’s the ‘not-too-chocolatey-ness’ of the sponge and the ‘tang’ of the cream cheese icing that seems to work. If you like a red cake, use the food colouring; if not, just leave it out. You will find it’s the taste of this cupcake and NOT the appearance that proves its worth.

Makes 12 large cupcakes, 24 fairy cakes or 48 mini cupcakes

Ingredients

200ml / ¾ cup + 1 tbsp soya milk
20ml / 4 tsp cider vinegar
200g / 1¾ cups self-raising flour
200g / 1 cup caster sugar
20g / ⅓ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp baking powder
80ml / ⅓ cup light rapeseed or other flavourless oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract or essence
½-1 tsp red food colouring paste (not liquid)
For the finishing touches:
For the Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing
25g dairy-free margarine
75g vegetable fat (shortening)
125g soya cream cheese
1 tbsp vanilla extract
30-40ml soya or rice milk
750g icing sugar
Red sweets (optional)

Essential kit

You will need a muffin tray.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and line your muffin tray with muffin cases.

Mix the soya milk and vinegar together. Set aside for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl mix the flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder by hand until fully combined. Add the soya milk mixture, the oil, vanilla and the red food colouring paste and, using a metal spoon, quickly mix everything together for about 10 seconds until the ingredients are just combined and the batter is still a little lumpy. Tap the bowl on to the work surface to halt the raising agents from working too quickly - you will see the bubbles pop. Spoon the batter evenly into each of the muffin cases and tap the filled muffin tray on the work surface to pop the bubbles again.

Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Cool in the tray on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes in their cases to the wire rack to cool completely.

Make the cream cheese buttercream. Using an electric or  a hand-held mixer, whip together the margarine, vegetable fat, cream cheese and vanilla until creamy (about 30 seconds). Add half of the icing sugar and 30ml milk and continue mixing, slowly at first and then bringing up to speed, until combined. Add the rest of the icing sugar and mix for about a minute until you have a smooth consistency. If the icing is too firm, then mix in a bit more milk. If it is too soft, add a bit more icing sugar. 

Pipe loads of zingy Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing on top and decorate with your favourite red sweet. Alternatively keep one of the cupcake bases aside and crumble it over the rest of the iced cupcakes.

Note: It is really important you don't use liquid food colouring as it will add too much liquid to your batter. Most liquid food colourings are made using E120 (cochineal) which is neither vegan nor vegetarian.

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